Pee Wee Herman Is Coming (Back) to HBO

In 1981 HBO started Pee Wee Herman, and in 2011, thirty years later (!), he’s going home.

Last year I caught Pee Wee Herman’s new stage show at the Nokia Theater here in LA; after being a huge hit it has moved on to Broadway. The show was, interestingly, mostly a slightly longer episode of his Pee Wee’s Playhouse show, and seemed tailor made to transfer to TV.

Which it’s now doing. The Pee Wee Herman Show On Broadway closes in January and then shoots a special for the cable network that actually got Paul Reubens off the ground. Most of you aren’t old enough to remember, but Pee Wee took off after a 1981 HBO special called The Pee Wee Herman Show; this was back in the day when much of Pee Wee’s audience were hipsters and transvestites and the B-52s were still sort of cool (you have to imagine Pee Wee and the B-52s appealed to generally the same adult audience). The new show feels more ‘all ages’ than the original show, which featured lots of naughty double entendres (although those exist in the new show as well); I grew up watching my aunt’s VHS copy of that show long before Pee Wee got his kiddie program.

The HBO special will air at some point in 2011, but nobody’s saying when.